Tampa International Airport impacted by American Airlines cancelling flights amid labor shortage and surge in travel

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — American Airlines says its canceling hundreds of flights because of labor shortages and bad weather.

This comes as the airline says it’s seeing a surge in travel, as COVID-19 restrictions ease in the country and around the world.

American Airlines cancelled one flight out of Tampa Sunday, and three more departures Monday.

People flying out of Tampa Monday were hoping their fight didn’t join the list, like Karina Maldonado.

“I would be extremely outraged and furious,” Maldonado said.

Once she learned what was going on, Maldonado kept checking her phone.

“It will be on the back of my mind because it’s a coincidence I’m taking American, and although I haven’t had issues with this flight, what are the chances I might have an issue later down,” Maldonado said.

To deal with the situation, American says it will trim its overall schedule by about 1% through mid July.

Dr. Chris Jones is an economist at USF. He says many of those laid off during the pandemic have found work elsewhere, and now a new labor force has to come in and fill those gaps.

“Consumer demand has picked up rapidly, this has not been a gradual uptick,” Dr. Jones said.

However, Dr. Jones says many industries are dealing with labor shortages right now.

“Will the market respond in time it will but we will deal with growing pains in the interim,” Dr. Jones said.

A spokeswoman at Tampa International Airport says TPA has about 70 American Airlines operations a day, but they don’t expect a major impact on their operations or passenger numbers at the airport.

She added that passengers will likely be notified and have the opportunity to make alternative plans in advance.

You can read American Airlines’ statement below:

“The first few weeks of June have brought unprecedented weather to our largest hubs, heavily impacting our operation and causing delays, canceled flights and disruptions to crew member schedules and our customers’ plans. That, combined with the labor shortages some of our vendors are contending with and the incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand, has led us to build in additional resilience and certainty to our operation by adjusting a fraction of our scheduled flying through mid-July. We made targeted changes with the goal of impacting the fewest number of customers by adjusting flights in markets where we have multiple options for re-accommodation.

“Our focus this summer — and always — is on delivering for our customers no matter the circumstance. We never want to disappoint and feel these schedule adjustments will help ensure we can take good care of our customers and team members and minimize surprises at the airport.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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